University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Pitt-Johnstown Seal

Course Offerings


At the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, a wide selection of course offerings are available in art and architectural history. Two sections of the general survey courses are offered each semester:


  • History of Western Art 1 = Fall Semester
  • History of Western Art 2 = Spring Semester

Period courses are offered semester-to-semester in chronological order, while other courses in Asian art and architectural history rotate on a roughly annual basis.


Please note that the content and assignments for each course can and do change each time it is offered. The following syllabi should be understood as applicable only to the semester it was last taught.

This course is a penetrating survey of the major accomplishments in Western art (painting, sculpture, architecture, and the minor arts) from prehistory to the 14th century. Religious and philosophical beliefs, historical events, geological and astronomical phenomenon, and other areas of human inquiry will be addressed in order to better understand the context in which ancient and medieval art was created.

This course is a penetrating survey of the major accomplishments in Western art (painting, sculpture, and architecture) from the Renaissance through the modern era. Contextual issues concerning the creation of art, including religious, political, economic, and social conditions that existed in specific societies at specific moments in time will be addressed through slide lectures.

This course introduces students to the art of architecture from the ancient world through the 20th century. Structural, functional, and aesthetic developments will be chronologically examined with a focus on major monuments.

This course examines in full or in part the artistic and cultural traditions of the ancient world, including the ancient Near East, Egypt, the Aegean, Greece, and Rome. Religious, literary, and political documents are analyzed to better understand the form and function of ancient sculpture, painting and architecture.

This course is a thorough examination of the art and architecture created during the European Middle Ages. This period begins with the emergence and legalization of Christianity in the Roman Empire and concludes with the arrival of the bubonic plague. Particular attention will be paid to the evolution of Christian imagery as related to theology and society, as well as the structural, functional, and aesthetic developments that occurred in architecture. Art created by migratory tribes and Islamic peoples will also be examined.

This course examines the art and architecture created in Italy and in Northern Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries. By focusing on significant works of art and architecture, as well as greater societal issues and historical events of the period, a greater understanding will be achieved regarding the major art centers, patrons and individual artists, as well as the great masterpieces of the era.

The Protestant Reformation brought about not only a strong Catholic Counter-Reformation, but also entirely new economic and social conditions under which art and architecture thrived in 17th- and 18th-century Italy, Spain, Flanders, Holland, France, and England. In this course, students will closely examine how societal conditions affected the creation, type, subject matter, and meaning of this art through readings, classroom discussion, and visual/contextual analysis.

Rather than simply chronologically surveying all modern art, this course focuses greater attention on primary and interrelated movements—such as realism, impressionism, Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, and Pop Art—that were, arguably, the most influential art styles of the 19th and 20th centuries. The complex relationship between art movements and the societal conditions that affected the creation and meaning of this art will be examined through readings, classroom discussion, and visual analysis.

This course examines the major movements, artists, and cultural issues in the development of 19th-century American painting. Chronologically or thematically, this course addresses portraiture, landscape, still-life, genre, and history painting up to the 1913 Armory Show.

Not withstanding the title, the purpose of this course is to introduce students to the rich artistic and cultural traditions of Asia as a whole, but particularly India, China, and Japan. By necessity, this course takes a broad approach, yet singular monuments of great importance will receive intense study, such as the Great Stupa at Sanchi, the Taj Mahal, the Forbidden City, and the great Shinto shrine at Ise. Other major topics include Chinese bronze ritual objects, Hindu architecture, Chinese scroll painting, and Japanese prints.

This course examines a rich variety of the world's major religious buildings and complexes, focusing particular attention on understanding structural, functional, and aesthetic characteristics of individual monuments. Societal conditions and religious beliefs that affected their design and meaning will be examined through readings, discussion, and visual analysis.

This course closely examines the development of architectural styles and building technologies from the late 19th century to present day. This will be accomplished by thoroughly investigating (through assigned readings, classroom discussion, and visual analysis) individual architects and their significant structures, as well as the relationship between the built-environment and societal conditions.

An intensive study on arguably the most important architect of the 20th century, this course seeks to examine the personal and professional life of Wright. Key works and periods of his career will be focused upon, supplemented with analysis of his own writings, in order to come to an understanding of this man's significance to modern architecture. Of particular interest are the structures and projects Wright undertook in the Pittsburgh region, including the world-famous Kaufmann house, Fallingwater.

Last Reviewed: August 21, 2007